MLB Rumors: Power Ranking the Five Best/Worst Moves of the Offseason So Far

Anthony LifrieriContributor IDecember 8, 2010

MLB Rumors: Power Ranking the Five Best/Worst Moves of the Offseason So Far

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    Cliff Lee may be the biggest name this offseason, but right now other moves deserve our focus.Elsa/Getty Images

    The baseball offseason is off to a slow, but exciting start. Personnel moves are a work in progress, but some dominoes have fallen which will no doubt allow for other big names like Lee, Greinke and Crawford to be moved.


    Here is a list of the top five best and worst moves of the offseason so far:

Honorable Mention Good and Bad: Yankees Re-Sign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera

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    Is he washed up? Will there be bitter feelings between the Yankee fans and Jeter in 2011? Probably not, but the tough negotiations between the two camps couldn't help.Tim Boyles/Getty Images

    This move is both good and bad.  The good part is re-signing Mariano Rivera for two years.  He’s undoubtedly the best closer in the game. His easy delivery along with his past record indicates he’ll be fine for at least 2011.  $15 million a year is expensive, but Rivera is the best ninth inning insurance money can buy.

    The bad part of this move was giving Derek Jeter more than two years.  The three-years, and a $17 million salary could come back to hurt the Yankees as soon as this season.  Jeter suffered his worst season as a professional in 2010, hitting a mere .270.  The long and drawn out negotiations could also have a negative effect on his play and perception in the Bronx.  Jeter needs to get back on track to prove he’s not washed up.

Bad Move #5: The Rays Letting Carl Crawford Walk

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    The Rays could become the worst team in the American League if they lose Crawford.J. Meric/Getty Images

    Yes, he is not officially gone yet, but we all know Carl Crawford will never re-sign with the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays were a team on the rise over the last half-decade, winning the pennant in 2008, but allowing the franchise’s best player to walk is a terrible move.

    Crawford is a true five-tool player, whose emerging power numbers could play well in small ballparks, especially the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium.  He’s just a flat-out big game player that is built to play in the bright lights of New York, Boston or Anaheim.

    By losing Crawford, along with other key cogs like Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano, the Rays will no doubt fade back into obscurity.  Small market clubs need to realize they need to spend money to make money.

Good Move #5: Cardinals Sign Lance Berkman

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    The Puma says, "Meet me in Saint Louis."Elsa/Getty Images

    Berkman did not fair well in Pinstripes, but still managed to play well in the playoffs in 2010 for the Yankees.  St. Louis inked Berkman to a one-year deal worth $8 million.  This is a low-risk, high reward signing for the Cards, and it will most likely work out.  

    He could be a liability in left field, but at the plate, he’ll have the best protection in the game with Albert Pujols hitting behind him.  With the 2-3-4 hitters being Berkman, Pujols and Matt Holiday, the Cards seem poised to have one of the best lineups in the NL in 2011.

Bad Move #4: Red Sox TRADE For Adrian Gonzalez

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    Now that he's finally in Boston, will Gonzo be ready for the big time?Elsa/Getty Images

    Good for the Red Sox to get him, bad in what it took to get him.  The Sawx have to give him a huge extension, and they had to give up some of their best prospects, including future stud Casey Kelly.  This hurts their future pitching potential, and does not help an aging team get much younger.

    Jonathan Papelbon is the most overrated player in Major League Baseball, and it seems only a matter of time before Boston cuts ties with him as well.  Red Sox Nation would have been better off trading Pappy for Gonzalez, or for some prospects to use in the deal.  Better yet, they could have waited a year and saved the prospects altogether.  

Good Move #4: Orioles Trade For Mark Reynolds

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    Few players in baseball have Reynolds' raw power. Look for him to have a bounce-back year in 2011.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Buck Showalter era is going to bring respectability back to Baltimore baseball.  Buck and O’s GM Andy MacPhail are slowly creating a winning atmosphere, and it will no doubt have a good effect on Mark Reynolds, who they acquired for a pittance.  Couple that with the affordable contract, and Reynolds could be poised for a monster season.

    Reynolds is a four-tool player, whose only weakness stems from his ridiculously high strikeout rate.  If Buck can work his magic on Reynolds, and cut his strikeouts down from 200 per season to 140, his average should increase to about the .270 range.  You can also expect his other categories to increase by 10-15 percent.  Reynolds is 27, and plays solid defense, so he is ready to put up his prime numbers over the next five years.

Bad Move #3: Adam Dunn Signs With The Chicago White Sox

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    Adam Dunn may be moving to the South Side, but he must improve his contact rate to be worth the large contract he signed.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Adam Dunn is a great person and teammate.  He can also hit the ball a long way, and consistently hits 35-40 home runs yearly.  A few weeks ago, the Chicago White Sox signed him for four-years at $56 million.  However, he is not a good fit for The White Sox.

    Every year, White Sox GM Kenny Williams seems to sign or trade for a slugger who hits for a low average.  Nick Swisher in 2008, Alex Rios in 2009 and now Dunn in 2010.  Worse still, it makes it more difficult to bring back Paul Kornerko, both due to budget and positioning.  

    His defense is average at best, and his .250 career batting average will only get worse over the course of the four-year-deal as his bat-speed inevitably decreases.

Good Move #3: Brewers Trade For Shaun Marcum

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    The Senior-Circuit will suit Marum well in 2011 and beyond.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Marcum was quietly one of the best pitchers in the AL East, the best division in baseball.  Now he “takes his talents” to the NL Central, one of the worst.  All he has to worry about in his new division, is the reloaded Cardinals lineup.  Without having to face the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays each year; he should blossom into a Cy Young contender in Milwaukee.  

    Marcum wants a long-term deal, which was one of the reasons he was traded, but the Brew Crew should have no problems giving it to him

Bad #2: Victor Martinez Signs With Tigers

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    V-Mart is 31, and catchers over 30 usually break down quickly.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Tigers gave a 31-year-old catcher four years and $50 million.  He's considered a great hitter, but lacks in defense.  V-Mart’s age will catch up to him by the third year of the contract, and Detroit will have another logjam at DH, as they already have Miguel Cabrera at first base.  

    Combine that with a loss of their first round pick, and the Tigers will surely rue making this move as soon as 2013.

Good #2: Washington Nationals Sign Jayson Werth

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    Is Werth merely cashing in, or are the Nationals truly devoted to playing winning baseball?Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    While most people believe the Nats overpaid for Werth, I think this is a great move for the franchise.  The Nationals have been known for years as sellers, and building for next year, so this signing will make a statement they are trying to win now.

    Giving a player seven-years and $126 million shows the rest of the league and other talent that they will spend top dollar on players, which, should attract more talent to the nation‘s capital.  DC is a huge market, so it’s probable they can make a nice profit if they play wining baseball.

    If the Nationals can sign Carl Pavano and Brandon Webb, and then couple it with a returning Stephen Strasburg in August, how are the Nationals not a playoff contender next year?

Bad #1: Marlins Are Sellers (for a Change...)

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    Marlins fans are going to have a lot to scream about in 2011.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Marlins practically gave away Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller.  Both were the centerpieces in the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers a couple of years ago.  They did get Omar Infante in the Dan Uggla trade, but the Marlins continue to prove that if you keep building for tomorrow, tomorrow never comes.

Good #1: Rockies Extend Troy Tulowitzki For The Rest Of The Decade

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    Troy is one of the top 15 players in the world today.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    What more can you say about Tulo?  He is one of the few true five-tool players in the game today.  By keeping him in Colorado until 2020, the Rockies now have the cornerstone to build their team around for years to come.  He’s only 26, and entering the prime of his career, meaning he should put up even better numbers than before.

    If they can lock up Carlos Gonzalez as well, the Rockies are primed for success in the future.